The courtship of now-former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone did not receive nearly as much publicity as that of Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
But that did not make him less any valuable to the Buffalo Bills, who have officially brought Marrone aboard as the embattled franchise’s newest head coach.
Not only is Marrone a natural fit in terms of geography — both ‘Cuse and Buffalo are located way out in snowy upstate New York — but the coach also has experience turning around a losing situation.
In the seven seasons prior to Marrone’s hiring at Syracuse, the Orange had compiled an abysmal 26-57 record. In the four years Marrone was in charge, the team went 25-25, showing improvement in every season. His program won six of its final seven games in 2012, capped off by a Pinstripe Bowl win over quarterback Geno Smith and West Virginia, 38-14. The team finished 8-5 on the year.
Marrone replaces Chan Gailey, who finished 16-32 over three seasons at the helm of Buffalo. The Bills have not had a winning record since finishing 9-7 back in 2004, and they have failed to make the playoffs in 13 straight seasons — the longest active drought in the NFL.
The Bills’ coaching search took less than a week to complete. Buffalo opened its coaching search Tuesday, when newly promoted president Russ Brandon and several executives traveled to Arizona, where they interviewed candidates. Marrone was eventually selected over former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, current Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and former Bears coach Lovie Smith. The Bills also interviewed Kelly, but the Ducks head man is expected to go in another direction.